A bunion is a bony protuberance that appears on the external surface of the big toe when it angles toward the adjacent toe. It is an extra bone and a fluid-filled sac that grows at the base of the big toe.
Symptomsof a bunion include:
- Pain and discomfort while walking
- Pain and tenderness around the big toe
- Restricted movements of big toe
- Turning of big toe towards the adjacent toe and change in the shape of the foot
- A bony mass at the joint surface of the big toe
Bunions are common in women and tend to run in families (heredity). A major cause of bunions is prolonged wearing of tight, narrow, ill-fitting and/or high-heeled shoes. Theseshoes may compress the toes and exerts excessive pressure while walking. The condition gets worsen and more painful as the bump grows bigger in size. Additionally, certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout may cause bunions.
Your orthopedic surgeon diagnoses a bunion based on the following:
- Medical history
- Physical examination to evaluate the extent of bunion
- Foot X-rays to determine the severity of the deformity
Non-surgical treatment options may include:
- Medications to help alleviate pain and symptoms
- Ice packs to reduce inflammation
- Broad-toed shoes that fit properly to reduce the compression of the toes.
- Bunion pads, cushions and splints to alleviate pain and protect the foot
- Properly fitted shoes that match the shape of the feet
The surgical method of removal of a bunion is known as bunionectomy. The goal of bunion surgery is to restore the normal position and function of the big toe. However, bunions can recur of the causation is not corrected.
Surgical complications may include infection, blood clot formation, bleeding, and unrelieved pain and nerve damage.